The Three Musketeers (1948)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

The third talkie version of Dumas' The Three Musketeers, this splashy MGM adaptation is also the first version in Technicolor. Gene Kelly romps his way through the role of D'Artagnan, the upstart cadet who joins veteran Musketeers Athos (Van Heflin), Porthos (Gig Young) and Aramis (Robert Coote) in their efforts to save their beloved Queen Anne (Angela Lansbury) from disgrace. They are aided in their efforts by the lovely and loyal Constance (June Allyson), while the villainy is in the capable hands of Milady De Winter (Lana Turner) and Richelieu (Vincent Price). Notice we don't say Cardinal Richelieu: anxious not to offend anyone, MGM removed the religious angle from the Cardinal's character. While early sound versions of Three Musketeers eliminated the deaths of Constance and Milady, this adaptation telescopes the novel's events to allow for these tragedies. True to form, MGM saw to it that Lana Turner, as Milady, was dressed to the nines and heavily bejeweled for her beheading sequence. Portions of the 1948 Three Musketeers, in black and white, showed up in the silent film-within-a-film in 1952's Singin' in the Rain, which of course also starred Gene Kelly. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Action & Adventure , Classics , Comedy , Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
WARNER BROTHERS PICTURES

Cast

Lana Turner
as Lady de Winter
Gene Kelly
as D'Artagnan
June Allyson
as Constance Bonacieux
Van Heflin
as Athos
Angela Lansbury
as Queen Anne
Frank Morgan
as King Louis XIII
Vincent Price
as Richelieu
Keenan Wynn
as Planchet
John Sutton
as George
Gig Young
as Porthos
Robert Coote
as Aramis
Reginald Owen
as De Treville
Ian Keith
as De Rochefort
Richard Wyler
as Albert
Byron Foulger
as Bonacieux
Robert Warwick
as D'Artagnan Sr.
Marie Windsor
as Dark-Eyed Lady-in-Waiting
Ruth Robinson
as Mother of D'Artagnan
Tom Tyler
as Traveler
Fred Coby
as Musketeer
Leonard Penn
as Musketeer
Kirk Alyn
as Friends of Aramis
John Holland
as Friends of Aramis
Francis McDonald
as Fisherman
Harry Wilson
as Kidnaper
Mickey Simpson
as Executioner
Frank S. Hagney
as Executioner of Lyons
William Edmunds
as Landlord
Dick Simmons
as Count DeWardes
Irene Seidner
as Landlord's Wife
Paul Maxey
as Major Domo
Arthur Hohl
as Dragon Rouge Host
Gil Perkins
as Guard
Norman Leavitt
as Mousqueton
Richard Simmons
as Count DeWardes
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Critic Reviews for The Three Musketeers

All Critics (7)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | January 27, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

It might look good but it doesn't taste that good after a few bites.

Full Review… | March 26, 2007
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

...enjoyable corn in the 'Classics Illustrated' tradition. You can't believe a minute of it, but neither can you ignore its rollicking bygone Hollywood charms.

Full Review… | March 5, 2007
DVDJournal.com

Colorful, figuratively and literally, MGM spectacle.

April 27, 2006
Video-Reviewmaster.com

No excerpt available.

July 19, 2005
EmanuelLevy.Com

Audience Reviews for The Three Musketeers

½

There have been many many film versions of this classic tale by French author Alexandre Dumas, the earliest dating back as far as 1903. This MGM production is probably one of the most remembered adaptations alongside the Doug Fairbanks 1921, black and white silent film. As I'm sure you all know, the tale follows a young D'Artagnan (Gene Kelly) as he travels to Paris so he can attempt to become a Musketeer for the King, the King's elite guard or soldier. On his journeys in Paris he bumps into the famous trio of Musketeers one by one and ends up challenging them. Of course after some swordplay and fisticuffs with Cardinal Richelieu's men they all become firm friends. What follows are the various missions and scrapes the foursome get into trying to stop Richelieu tricking the King of France into war with Great Britain. This involves racing to England to retrieve some precious jewels the Queen of France gave away to the English Prime Minister, the Duke of Buckingham. D'Artagnan avoiding Richelieu's temptations of becoming one of his guards whilst trying to find his love Constance, who has been abducted by Richelieu in order to bribe him into his service. All the while trying to also avoid the temptations of Milady de Winter who eventually tries to assassinate the young cocky Musketeer. There is obviously a little more to it than that but I really don't think I need to explain this well known story. Would it be a bit bold of me to claim this is the Gene Kelly version of the tale? that Kelly is the only reason to watch this movie? Well ya of course, because he isn't the sole driving force here, although I will admit I thought he would be. But there is no doubt Kelly is the main attraction with this movie, star power wise. Knowing how athletic and likable the guy is its hard not to think this. On this front you are not disappointed, Kelly leaps and bounds around the fake sets like a grasshopper on a sugar rush. Even today its still impressive how awesome and daring he was when it came to stunts. I presume he did the stunts anyway, hard to tell but I'm pretty sure he did. Of course all this might come across as a tad quaint these days but remember everything you see is real, the balancing acts, the leaps, the rolls, the rope swinging and of course the frenetic sword fighting. There is one long shot where D'Artagnan arrives at a small house, jumps onto a stone wall, then jumps onto the water-wheel, rides it until he is able to jump onto a tree branch with a bit of acrobatics, and finally swings into the house through the top window. OK there is a small cut before he jumps through the window so we can see a reaction shot from Kelly, but its still a perfect example of how fit, fearless and audacious these guys were. Admittedly I'm not sure it was all Kelly, but still impressive, as he swung through the window the camera followed right behind him, great shot. To this degree everybody is impressive, the stunt guys take their hits well and thrown themselves across tables like pros. All the main cast do join in on the fights but the focus is often clearly on Kelly who revels in the danger. Most of the cast I am unaware of I will be honest but the inclusion of Vincent Price as Richelieu was genius casting, I don't even have to tell you how good he is in this evil sinister role. In all honesty the only other cast member I knew of was Angela Lansbury as Queen Anne (a smallish role), one of the first times I've actually seen her as a young woman! Talking about the action, it was very clear to me how much this movie influenced following adaptations. Watching the sword fighting sequences, it dawned on me how similar these sequences appeared to Richard Lester's 1973/1974 movies. I thought to myself, have I seen this before? this style all looks very familiar. Watching the direction, pace and general visual appearance of these sequences at every turn, I am sure Lester copied this movie. I realise both movies are covering the same story so similarities are bound to happen but seriously, I was really shocked at how similar this movie and Lester's movies are when it came to the fight scenes. The actors even seem to move in the same way, as though they had been trained by the same guy. What I did find slightly amusing was something I actually found out whilst watching a Bluray extra about another classic movie (an Errol Flynn one). Apparently, back in those days they used to paint the scenery so it looked perfect, in other words if the grass wasn't green enough, or the trees weren't red enough, they would spray paint them to get the desired effect. This is so so obvious watching this movie, most of the limited use of actual real outdoor locations (California) are so vividly coloured, overly so. They even, clearly, coloured the water for one small scene, it looks quite toxic actually, not right at all. As for the sets, well they are undeniably lavish and gorgeous looking as were all sets back then. Whether or not everything is period accurate I don't know, but it sure as hell looks good and authentic to me. Most royal rooms look suitably regal and exquisite, dripping in bold colours and coats of arms. The regular peasant abodes are your standard Tudor-esque/olde worlde English pub look with timber frames, interior timber beams, lots of used candles and cozy open fires galore. Exterior sets are quite realistic looking to a degree, you can tell they are sets but they are charming without a doubt, everything looks so whimsical and angelic. Naturally the costumes and props are all just as glorious as everything else, bright, bold, colourful, and with a hint of pantomime about it all. I should also add that the Musketeer attire (the blue sash) looks almost identical to the Musketeer attire in Lester's movies. Visually its very pleasing to the eye, I think most would agree with that and would have guessed that from the start. The issue I had was the pacing, it tended to become rather dull when there wasn't any sword fighting going on, a bit smoochy in places, lots of exposition. Then at times things whizz by very quickly, one minute we're in France, then at sea, then England, then back in France, characters zoom about the countryside quicker than you can say fromage. The sequences showing us France at war with Great Britain are basically a few shots of a small group of soldiers on a dark, rainy set which lasts less than a minute. This is a hard one to judge really, I did enjoy it, but not as much as I had hoped for. I'll be honest, the light-hearted comedy actually let it down for me, it was too stupid, too slapsticky, and seeing Kelly mug for the camera was kinda lame. To be frank I don't think Kelly was the best choice for the leading role, sure he's got the athletic ability, but he hasn't quite got the acting chops, and his comic timing is hokey. The other three Musketeer actors were much better than Kelly, in fact everyone was much better than Kelly, Kelly was too much of a clown (forgive me!). I just didn't get a real rush from anything on screen, I didn't really feel emotionally engaged or intrigued because the movie is a bit too lovey dovey and fanciful. I had a feeling it would be of course, seeing as Kelly was in the lead role. Thusly my favourite Musketeer movie/s must still remain the two Richard Lester epics (not counting the third).

Phil Hubbs
Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

"The Three Musketeers (1948)" is an extremely simple tale of a man (D'Artagnan) who comes as a peasant to seek war with the three musketeers who run the village. Athos, Porthos, and Aramis are in shock to believe that young D'Artagnan is able to take them on in dual, but he seems persistent enough to give him a chance. This film may have been original during the reading of the original novel/play, but this film is just a great representation, even if it is extremely cheesy, towards the origin story of the three musketeers. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this film, but through some action and romance sequences, it becomes a bit laughable and lazily written. It reminded me of early shakespeare at times, which I thoroughly admired for the risk that the director took. To conclude, I truly believe that they could have had a little more background of the characters instead of beginning with the journey of all four men from the start. This is an all around great film with cheese lurking around every corner!

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

Boy is this thing all over the place. Sumptous to be sure it has the MGM touch in spades as far as lavishness goes but an inconsistent tone and some terrible casting choices. The good-Vincent Price and Lana Turner are perfect in their roles with Lana looking astounishing in some beautiful and some ridiculous costumes. June Allyson also comes across well as Constance and Angela Lansbury looks great but is wasted as the queen. The average-Van Heflin, Gig Young and Richard Coote are merely adequate as the musketeers and while Frank Morgan is always a welcome sight he is just wrong as the king of France. The bad-Gene Kelly, and very bad he is, of course he handles the sword fighting episodes well with a dancers grace his over eager and downright dreadful line readings and reactions are painful and irritating to watch. Whenever he is on screen the movie stops dead in it's tracks. A very mixed bag.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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